top of page

Mentor Visit #1

Mentor: Dr. Tim Barckholtz 

Profession: Senior Scientific Advisor at ExxonMobil

Location: Zoom Meeting

Date: 1/21/21

Time: 3:00pm - 3:45 pm



        This was my first mentor visit with my newly acquired mentor, Dr. Tim Barckholtz, who is a Senior Scientific Advisor at ExxonMobil, specializing in carbon capture technology that works to reduce CO2 emissions. I was extremely excited for this first visit as I felt as though Dr. Barckholtz would provide me with the enthusiasm and attention to detail that I had hoped to find in a mentor. 

        The first thing we discussed was each of our expectations for mentor visits, how work would be conducted, and plans for future communication. Dr. Barckholtz explained that while he was new to the whole mentoring process he was excited to see where the opportunity would take both of us and what we can accomplish through my final product. This was extremely encouraging to me as I had hoped to find someone that would bring such enthusiasm to the mentorship and really allow me to learn and gain as much understanding about my perspective field from them. 

In addition, we discussed, in depth, the plans for my final product, something that is completely outside of my comfort zone but an incredibly exhilarating journey to be embarking on. The preliminary plan regarding my final product revolves around the creation of a map that plans out carbon dioxide tunnels that will carry CO2 from areas of high production to existing CO2 lines where the carbon dioxide can then be put underground. There are many parts of this that I do not initially understand but I believe that Dr. Barckholtz will really help me through this project and provide me with the knowledge necessary to truly obtain a quality final product. 

        One of the things that I found most interesting in this meeting was the ways in which this CO2 sequestration is working to not only reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere but also help produce more oil in an efficient way. Dr. Barckholtz explained that CO2 is captured from factories or power plants, transported through pipelines of high pressure that convert the gaseous CO2 into liquid CO2, and then put underground into oil wells that have been partially emptied. The liquid CO2 works to push out the oil in these wells allowing for a more efficient way of producing fuel. One of the most interesting things that I find about this particular technology is the fact that, like most, I thought that one simply drilled into the ground, found oil, and it came right out of the ground. I had no idea that there were times where the oil production would slow and there was a need for a different way to get this oil out of the ground. The explanation of this process brought about many questions that I will need to ask my mentor in our next visit. How do you keep the liquid CO2 from mixing with the oil? How difficult would this be to implement in other areas of the country? How effective is this in the reduction of carbon emissions?

        I think one of the things about this mentor visit that makes me believe I chose the best person for my mentorship is the fact that Dr. Barckholtz is so enthusiastic about not only the final product but also in teaching me as much about the chemical engineering profession as possible. For example, he has sent me numerous resources including maps, a book to read, and information on carbon capture in order to give me a better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish. I find myself very excited to see where this mentorship takes me as I believe I can truly learn a lot from Dr. Barckholtz and the entire mentorship process.

bottom of page